Britain continues its long term downward trend in workplace fatalities with statistics showing that the number of workplace deaths has remained largely unchanged from those of last year.

The current rate is at 0.6 percent of every one hundred thousand workers being affected by fatal injury. From April 2011 to March this year there were 173 deaths, which is a reduction of two from the previous year.

Health and Safety Executive (HSE) Chair, Judith Hackitt, said "Britain continues to have one of the lowest levels of workplace fatal injuries in Europe." However, she acknowledged the fact that "we must not forget that these are lives cut short, not statistics - every single one of these deaths will have caused terrible grief and anguish for family and friends as well as workmates and colleagues. This is the real tragedy of health and safety failures - lives cut short and loved ones lost." Accordingly she has asked that employers focus on the real risks that are continuing to cause deaths and serious injury. "HSE is working very hard to make it easier for people to understand what they need to do and to focus on the real priorities. Protecting people from death and serious injury at work should be at the heart of what we all do."

Despite large drops in the last twenty years, perhaps unsurprisingly, the sector with the most fatalities was construction with 49 fatal injuries recorded. Although high this is a decrease from previous figures. Agricultural workers took up 33 of the fatalities recorded with five coming from waste and recycling. Recently, it was reported that an enquiry was being launched by UK Power Networks after one of its employees suffered fatal head injuries in a fall from height at a farm last month. The worker reportedly fell 20ft from a cherry picker while performing engineering work at a farm in Essex and died from his injuries at the scene. David Urpeth, a Partner and Head of the Workplace Injury team at Irwin Mitchell, said: "falls from height are one of the biggest causes of fatalities and serious injuries at work as this terrible case demonstrates" Incidents like this stress the need for employers to continue to work with the HSE to ensure that they understand how these accidents arise and most importantly how best to prevent them.

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